After the Ice Storm of 1998, we were without power for 9 days, and also without heat and well water. A powerless sump pump also meant the danger of our basement flooding. We were lucky to have a 12-volt pump, then borrowed a small generator, kerosene heaters, and a load of wood for the fireplace. But keeping the gennie running and playing "musical extension cords" was exhausting - and cold. For a while, we had a portable generator, but found it too heavy.
After a few more power outages, we decided to get a generator that would work even if we weren't home. After installing and wiring an automatic Generac generator into our house electric panel, we thought we had power outages solved. Boy were we wrong. Our weekly "test" time was chosen so I'd be home to hear it. The starter burned out the first time temperatures dropped to -20C -- in fact, the generator would not start any time it got cold!
So, basically, in a Canadian winter when you really need a backup power system, the Generac Guardian 8 kW generator doesn't work. So we are going to bite the bullet and replace it with a 10 kW generator. Apparently they start in the cold weather (-20C). You can solve most any problem if you just throw money at it. Stay tuned, because if the new one doesn't work, I will post, tweet and facebook about it.